Social Media: How to make Twitter work for your business
Today, in the second part of my social media series, I want to talk about Twitter, which has the added distinction (infamy?) of being Donald Trump’s favourite social media platform ;)
I first joined Twitter 6 years ago and honestly I didn’t think much of it - a flood of “news bites” and people’s random thoughts and #cutethingsmykidsays. No thanks.
I came back to Twitter about a year later with a different plan. Instead of following friends and people I knew, I started following people I aspired to work with - mostly editors as I was getting into freelance writing then - and publications and websites I wanted to write for. I also added some social welfare organisations and political news sites that I felt aligned to - I lived in Canberra after all!
No other social media platform can compare to Twitter for fast news that's filtered, i.e. without all the crap, which for me includes sports, celebrity goss and #cutethingsmykidsays. If you want the latest news and trends fast, Twitter is the place to be.
A Twitter account is not the same as a Facebook account. It’s not about connecting with your friends. Twitter is more strategic; your persona is derived from the accounts you follow and interact with.
Personal and business Twitter accounts are pretty much the same thing. There’s no special process to change an existing personal account to a business account. I simply changed the focus of my personal account to be more in line with my business focus.
Like any social media platform you need to take the time to fill your profile out properly. Pay attention to your Twitter handle (@username), your description, your profile and banner images, and your pinned post. Check out mine below as an example. I've tried to use every opportunity to say what I do, so that my message is cohesive and focused.
Why your business should be on Twitter
Twitter does 3 things really well:
- It provides information in short bite-sized pieces so you can skim through it
- It lets you provide relevant, useful information to your followers
- It gives you an opportunity to engage with people you aspire to work with
One of the best things about Twitter for business is that you can engage with anyone who’s on Twitter. Only about 500 million people. Yep, wow. There’s no way you could get that kind of access anywhere else.
People put so much more of themselves, their interests and nuances, on Twitter because the 140 characters per tweet means every word has to count. So, you're more likely to find some common interests.
How to engage with people on Twitter:
- “Heart” (like) their posts
- Retweet others' posts
- Comment on others' posts
- Direct message people but only if they are already following you
- Host or follow a Twitter Chat, where a group of people get together to chat about a particular subject; kind of like a really fast Facebook Live
If you’re wondering who to follow, start with: businesses/clients you’d like to work with, your existing clients, your competitors and peers, news and industry bodies, influencers, people who inspire you, and educators.
Here’s an article on how to make the most of your Twitter account. It’s worth a read.
How I use Twitter
These days, I rarely read my Twitter newsfeed but I post everyday. I used to post even more - about 8 times a day and my following increased accordingly.
Now I've pared back my posts to 3 a day, every day. My Twitter strategy is about feeding the content beast (ie my readers) interesting and helpful posts that relate to my niche. I use the “80-20 rule” of posting 80% of other people’s content and 20% of my own.
I only hop on Twitter every few weeks to check my notifications, thank new followers (I gain about 50 new followers a month) and people who have retweeted me, and retweet some of their posts.
My aim is to build up my online reputation in my niche, drive traffic to my site and grow my subscriber list. And this strategy works for that. Yay!
My top tips to boost your Twitter page:
Focus on your business message and industry. Sure, throw in a bit of personality but try to keep inside your niche. Unless you're a celebrity, your audience doesn’t want to hear about what you had for breakfast last Tuesday… unless you’re in the food biz, or it's somehow relevant. Get it?
Fill out your profile as much as possible, taking advantage of both the profile and the banner images to explain what you do.
Keep your profile description professional, there’s no need to include how many kids or cats you have, or your addiction to coffee/wine/chocolate. Sure, some people do but you and I are in the business of growing our own brands so friendly and approachable but cut the irrelevant crap.
Use hashtags on your posts - they are awesome for searches. 1-3 is standard, any more and your tweet gets lost among the #links.
Use an image or video in your tweets, particularly your own. Honestly, I rued the day that Twitter started allowing images in with tweets; suddenly scrolling through a newsfeed was so. much. longer. Then I got over it. Now I’m accepting the we’re-all-visual-monkeys theory that everyone’s subscribing to these days.
Follow the people you aspire to work with and engage with them. If you’re pitching a freelance story to an editor you haven’t worked with before, maybe she’ll at least recognise your name as the person who writes nice comments on her tweets.
Check and use your analytics regularly. Twitter has one of the best analytic database for its users with everything from popular content to audience demographics. You’ll find yours by clicking your profile picture on the right hand side under the banner.
And remember that 140 characters is short! Get used to trotting out short, sharp and descriptive post comments!
There you have it! Now go build your Twitter empire! And tell me, have you ever done a Twitter chat?